Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting Upbeat

{New blog: www.upbeat-eats.com}

Hi friends! 

I'm sorry I've been neglecting you. But maybe I can say something to make up for it.

I've decided to take my relationship with blogging to the next level. 

You see,  when I first launched "Pennies on the Sidewalk", I didn't really know what I was going for. I knew that I liked to write, as that trade has been a passion forever. But as far as topics go I was a bit... lost.

As you may have noticed :)

But I pushed myself through that awkwardness, and over the past year or so I have truthfully, completely fallen in love with the healthy living community. And I'm ready to find my voice! 

So I really hope y'all will join me at www.upbeat-eats.com. THANK YOU to those who have been reading. I'll see you over at my new spot!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sugar Brain

In honor of my heartburn and the fact that I ate a homemade red velvet whoopie pie at 8:45am this morning, I thought we could talk about the most magical part of today. 

And also the most upsetting. Valentine's Day... FOOD.

It's so delicious, and pretty. 

And evil with its tempting ways.

This is not an actual picture of the red velvet whoopie pie I consumed this morning because frankly I was too busy shoveling it into my face.

Currently a "bake off" is going down in the kitchen at my office. What does that mean for me & my bridal waistline? It means oodles upon oodles of sugary treats competing for my affection and up for the taking. 

Did you know that red velvet could take on so many forms?


Cake Ballz



And, of course, the classic, the original, perfect cupcake 

It's pure insanity, is it not?! 

I have one more tidbit before I pass into a sugar coma for the day. Unrelated to food. I received not one but TWO special love bouquets from my Valentine. This is the part where I brag about my dude. 

Love you JC! 

And now, back to my real valentine ....

I'm hopeless.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Be My "Gal"entine

I am feeling a little on the uncreative side today. 

Luckily I recalled an exciting event from last week - I got a gchat from Emily asking if I had any plans for "Gal"entine's Day, and whether I would be her date. 

Flattery gets you pretty far in life and while I wanted to accept immediately, I had to admit I didn't know what in the samhill she was talking about. 

I should have known about this already considering my fiance is a full-fledged "Parks & Recreation"guru, but Galentine's Day is celebrated the day before February 14th by -- you guessed it -- gal friends. 

Despite the fact that this is a new concept for me. I'm already overwhelmingly in support. Especially since JC & I celebrated our little V-day last night (MELTING POT!!) since he travels during the week. 

So what will our Galentine's Day entail? Eating (obviously), wine (Come on), and... 


When we thought up this idea I of course went running straight for marthastewart.com. I mean, where else can you find recipes for hot chocolate with marshmallows that have heart cut-outs? Good ol' Martha had over 50 "last minute" ideas for me. 

Among my favorites: 

Valentine Hands. Awesome. 

Easy, cutesy heart cookies. Do I see candy buttons on there? I could really go for a candy button.

Valentiney home decor - conversation hearts in a vase. 

HELL, Martha can even create rose patterns from LETTUCE. I don't know how that works. I'm not sure I want to know. I feel like I will get sucked into a rabbit hole of crafting.

How will you gals celebrate Galentine's Day? Don't have plans? Make some!! Seize any excuse to drink wine and make crafts, that's what I always say. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

I like to oat [muffins]

Happy Friday!! 
{Scroll down for Breakfast Oat Muffins!}

Since it is in fact Friday, and I've been attempting the South Beach diet for exactly 4 weeks, I thought I'd give an update (for my own benefit if you frankly DGAF.)

Quick recap: I spent 2 weeks on "Phase 1", which eliminates all fruit, starchy carbs like bread, pasta etc., sugar including but not limited to alcohol. In that time, I lost somewhere between 4-5 pounds. 

Since then, I've spent the last 2 weeks phasing fruit & whole grain carbs only into my diet - 1 grain & 1 fruit a day only. The result? I've gained some weight back, at least according to the scale today - somewhere between 2-3 pounds. 

@#$#%@%%!! What gives??

While there were definitely some cheats in there including our tasting, I have for the very most part been on the straight and narrow. Not to carry on about myself for an extended period of time but all I can think of is I haven't exactly been enthusiastically working out. Or working out period, beyond a day of dance and one day of weight training. Not what you'd call consistent. 

But in the words of Sophia Mergara, I can't seriously diet AND seriously work out. 

Does that look like the body of a liar? I knew I couldn't stand her. 

Anyway, I'm going to TRY to drag my behind out of bed early enough to fit in 20 minutes of workout time in the mornings next week and take it from there. 

Meanwhile, I have to introduce y'all to a scrumptious recipe that makes midweek breakfasts a snap. If you like oats or bread, particularly in combination, or if you resemble an angry zombie who is only further enraged by making meals in the mornings, here's an idea for you that is far superior to eating your breakfast out of a package.

Delicious Nutritious Morning Oat Muffins
{Adapted From South Beach Diet Supercharged}

Makes 12 muffins

I froze half of my batch for future emergencies. They thaw super easily just out on the counter overnight!

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons oats
1 cup buttermilk - I made my own subsitute: 1 T white vinegar, add milk to 1 cup mark. Let stand 5 minutes then use.
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour or whole grain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup brown sugar substitute - I used Splenda because I couldn't find Stevia brown sugar sub
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.

In a small bowl, combine 3⁄4 cup of the oats and the buttermilk. Let soak for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts.

In a large bowl, stir together the oil, egg, brown sugar substitute, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the oat mixture. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons oats over the muffins. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

Remove to the rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information:
180 calories, 10 total fat (1 g sat), 4 g protein, 3 g fiber

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Business Meets Pleasure

Did you guys see this this Super Bowl commercial?

If so, did you laugh? I know it wasn't meant to be funny, but I found it so. Group of 20 somethings in a dimly lit trendalicious club. All good looking (duh.) Hip song. Everyone's having a rip roaring good time with some light beer re-packaged into a sleek sexbomb bottle.


To be honest I didn't understand what in God's name was different about BLP, until I spent Monday night hanging out with Megan. Together at the grocery store we discovered that this all-business bottle actually contains 6% alcoholz. 

I know what you're thinking. Isn't this Natty Ice? Nope. Tastes awesome. And I am not ashamed that we fell victim to mass marketing targeted right at our demographic and taste-tested out of these ridicballs bottles on a Monday eve.

Ironic that Megan & I met at work once upon a time. Business meets pleasure... indeed. 

This post not sponsored by Bud Light... instead sponsored by my marginal alcohol dependency.

It's almost Friday - Cheers!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Weds-Day: I value your behind

Our wedding goes down in exactly 121 days. 

For the layman, that is precisely 4 months. And if you saw this post way back when, you might know that I was preeetty nervous about my procrastination of overdue tasks.

In all honesty, I didn't do much "heavy duty" wedding planning until the turn of 2012. That's kind of who I am. If I have a paper due next week, I'm going to focus on the episode of Teen Mom that's on tonight. If I get engaged 1.5 years before I get married, I'm going to have a year-long contest with myself to see how much champagne I can fit in my stomach in lieu of actual planning. 


The good news is, I'm pretty good when under pressure. I kind of need a badgering deadline that's looking a little dangerously close before I feel the need to take serious action. So now that serious wedding things are underway, let's talk about thangs. 

This past weekend, we were here:

Home sweet home. 

We rolled into town to take care of a lot of details, particularly and most deliciously our reception menu (!!!) 

But today's topic is something that might not seem so sexy at first.

But I assure you, it is of the utmost sexiness. 


I have a long history with wedding chairs. 

The above photo is one of the first wedding design photos that I fell in love with upon becoming betrothed. While there are many things I love about that whole situation, I think the chairs are an unassuming detail that give me the warm and fuzzies. 

I snapped this pic at my reception site as this wedding was being set up Saturday. This bride clearly gets what I'm talking about. The Chivari chair. It is pure elegance.

My fabulous reception coordinator and I really got into it over this topic.

His argument: "Please. Put the money you'd spend on chair rentals towards your centerpieces and make those beautiful. That's where people will be looking."

This, I flat out reject. First off, when you have 130+ of ANYTHING in a room, they begin to become part of the decoration. If you have 130+ plain nasty (albeit, free) banquet chairs, well, that's going to take away from all that dough you piled into centerpieces.

And secondly, I adore thee, Chavari chairs.

I'm not saying brides should throw obscene amounts of money at things like chairs just because they are pretty. But I AM saying I truthfully feel they are worth cutting costs elsewhere in a budget.

So who won the argument? Let's just say our guests' precious tooshies will be seated in Chavari magic. 

And let's also just say said Chavari chairs were thrown in for free. I was exuding that much passion about them, I suppose.

Did I convince YOU? What do you think? Chavari chairs, covered chairs? Things I don't even know about? Does it not matter so much in your opinions?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Summoning Spring

On Thursday of last week, this GD chubby gopher did not see his shadow. 

Jerk. On Friday of last week, I decided to protest his prediction that spring will hold out on us for 6 more weeks by wearing...


My fanciest green springy skirt. I am trying to coax spring to come hang out for a while. It seems to be working so far. 

It turns out I am not the only person who's feeling the spring skirt look. This flowery gem actually attracted many comments in the office. 

I took that to mean they dug it, but in hindsight maybe they just forgot what a skirt looks like on an actual person since we haven't seen that in half a year. Either way, I love me a festive skirt - comfortable, fun, slightly intrusive on the eyeballs with color splash. 

Don't you agree?

I mean... what's not to love?

Are we feeling springy yet??

What warm weather looks are you itching to flaunt? Anybody else not letting the lame month o' February hold y'all back?